One of the sticking points for some gamers with BioShock was for all its inventiveness, it did at times play like a standard corridor shooter -- lots of small spaces, resulting in similar encounters with enemies over and over.
Developer and creator of that title and also the forthcoming BioShock Infinite Ken Levine says the latter will definitely be focused on more varied gameplay.
"The previous games gave players a lot of tools, but there was a tendency for encounters to have a lot of similarities: narrow corridors and one or two enemies. So the tendency was for tools like the Electro-Bolt and shotgun to be commonly used because they were extremely effective. So the sniper rifle weapon (the crossbow) and the area-of-effect attacks were less effective and less used."
"We wanted to make sure we had a broad range of weapons and powers [for BioShock Infinite], and that the environments and challenges demanded those weapons and powers. So there are a ton of interior spaces in the game that will feel like a traditional BioShock spaces, very intimate. But we also focus on spaces that are quite different from what you’ve seen in a BioShock game: huge, open, outdoor spaces with broad ranges."
As mentioned previously, you can now fight up to about 15 enemies at one time now, too. This and the other changes are thanks in part to the updated engine.
"We’re using an entirely new graphics engine — there’s no shared code or assets with any previous BioShock game, though it’s based on Unreal 3.0 technology. The reason we had to go with a new engine, and one of the reasons development has taken awhile, is because we couldn’t do what we wanted to do otherwise. We couldn’t do this kind of scale, or the scenes on the Skylines where you’re in combat while traveling at 60 miles per hour, or scenes where you’re fighting 15 enemies at once."
"And something like a sniper rifle now make a lot of sense! It becomes meaningful now that we’ve changed the dynamics of the environment. Vertical movement across big, broad spaces and multiple enemies who work together against you — these are things you haven’t seen in a BioShock game before."
While we were kind of hoping from the premise the game would abandon shooter mechanics altogether, it's at least a mild departure from standard fare.